Southern Spice

Taj Coromadel Hotel, 37 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai, India

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Southern Spice serves food from the four southern states of India: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhrar Pradesh and Karnataka (Goa would seem to me at the same level on the map, but anyway). We had two meals here and so had a chance to dry a number of dishes. The dining room is large and elegant, and there was classical live Indian music being played. The "dry" bhindi from Tamil Nadu was no such thing, and indeed was verging on slimy in texture though the spices were good (11/20 only). Better was cauliflower which was cooked with spices and fried, served in small bite-sized pieces (13/20).

Tandoori chicken was marinated with pepper before cooking, the chicken itself of good quality if cooked a fraction too long, but with distinct spices (14/20). Vegetable biryani is less obvious as a southern dish (biryani in India is more associcated with Hyderabad and Kolkata) and lacked the traditional pastry cap on the dish. It was pleasant but no more (12/20). Pomfret was very good, tender and cooked with a blend of spices, cooked in a banana leaf (14/20). Spinach curry had excellent texture. smooth and with lots of spianch flavour (14/20).

Best of all for me were the breads. The garlic naan was superb, light and fluffy (15/20). Paratha was also very good (13/20) but best of all was romali roti. This is my favourite Indian bread, very thin and spun in the air before placing on a hot steel hemisphere, then quickly folded over several times until you have a neat little parcel. It is easy to make this too hard and brittle, but the version here was as light and airy as it could be, even better than at the Leela Palace in Goa. I would give this bread 17/20 (indeed, I can't really imagine it much better). Definitely worth a try if you are in Chennai.

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User comments

  • Stephen Oliver

    If you ever return to Chennai you should try Annalakshmi, 804, Anna Salai, Chennai, 600002. The best food in India is home-cooked and this is the closest you will come to home-cooked.

  • Siddhartha

    Andy, I guess you needed better hosts in India. You don't eat Roomali Roti in south India, that too in South Indian speciality restaurant - I am surprised it was even on the menu. And the Biriyani could be from Hyderabad or Lucknow (Awadhi Biriyani). Now being from Awadh, I am not the most impartial judge, but this is the biriyani which is famous for subtle spices and its aroma (while the Hyderabadis would consider it bland, and find their spicier version better in comparison)